Craig LaBan Sees Potential in Russet

Craig LaBan sees the potential in Andrew Wood’s Russet to be one of Philadelphia’s best restaurants. But before that happens some loose ends around the entrees will have to be taken care of. But the appetizers, well they’re already excellent.

Housemade lonza, chile-cured from the loin of Tamworth pigs Russet buys whole from Lancaster County, comes sliced into a translucent amber rosette draped with pickled ramps, blanched celery leaves, and a rustic green oil with mortar-crushed herbs. Stinging nettles, plucked for the restaurant by urban forager David Siller, are spun into silky strands of forest green tagliolini, glazed with the capery anchovy piquance of bagna cauda, and then set beneath a lightly broiled yolk that bursts into sauce at first touch.

Two Bells – Very Good
Russet [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Russet [Official Site]

Russet Brings Traditional Craftsmanship to the Table

Trey Popp visits Russet, the new BYOB from Andrew and Kristen Woods.

The Woods’ seasonable-and-sustainable credo is familiar, but their Old World sensibility gives Russet a traditionalist rather than trendy vibe. He makes pastas from Lancaster wheat, rolling out some shapes on a chitarra crafted by an old artisan in Chester County. She makes a butterscotched, Calvados-creamed apple mille-feuille that’s to die for.

Two-and-a-half Stars (Good to Excellent)

Philadelphia Restaurant Review: Old World Sensibilities at Russet [Philadelphia magazine]
Russet [Official Site]

Tale of the Tape: Russet

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Andrew and Kristin Wood have opened Russet at 1521 Spruce Street. The legitimate farm to table BYOB will offer an ever changing menu with a focus on whole-animal butchery and traditional cooking methods.

Owners Andrew and Kristin Wood

  • Andrew and Kristin met in 2000 while working at Radius in Boston
  • They traveled west to Chicao where Andrew worked at Rick Tramonto’s TRU and Kristin at Trio under Chef Grant Achatz.
  • The couple continued west to California. At Napa’s Terra and San Francisco’s Quince Andrew really got into food-sourcing and seasonality
  • Back in Philadelphia Andrew opened James and Maia
  • Kristin was also the pastry chef at James
  • Most recently Andrew has been at Fork where his charcuterie won a Best of Philly award

Russet, Serious About Farm to Table

Russet, like the apples

Russet will be the name of Andrew and Kristin Wood’s Spruce Street BYOB. The couple is taking over the former Ernesto’s for a true farm-to-table restaurant, not just a spot cashing in on a buzz phrase.

Andrew, who’s first Philadelphia restaurant job was in Georges Perrier’s Le Bec-Fin more than a decade a go, has traveled west to California (with stops in Boston and Chicago) as he has become a disciple of ingredient-driven cuisine. In California, Andrew worked as a sous chef at Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani’s Terra in the Napa Valley. After that he went to Michael and Lindsay Tusk’s Quince in San Francisco. Quince’s philosophy serves as the backbone of Russet, daily changing menus and food supplied directly from farmers.

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